Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on June 23, 2016.

July 6, 2016

10:00 a.m.

I. Protest of Renewal-Decision

*DISCLAIMER* Community Law Center staff attorney and Booze News blogger Becky Lundberg Witt represented the community association in this case.
Licensee Domingo Kim
Business Name Domingo Kim Enterprises, Inc.
Trading As Stadium Lounge
Address 3351-53 Greenmount Avenue
Type of License Class “BD-7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Protest of Renewal – decision phase only.
Hearing notes

Chairman Matricciani began with the residency issue raised by the Waverly Improvement Association. Mr. Kim is not a Baltimore City resident, as required by Art. 2B section 9-101. Matricciani had written out his determination on the residency issue, a copy of which was entered into the record and which he read out loud. Matricciani went over the arguments on both sides, which were outlined in the Booze News post for May 19, 2016. Matricciani noted that the former rule, which required that a licensee be a resident or taxpayer of Baltimore City, conflicted with the agency’s controlling statute, which requires that a licensee be a resident and taxpayer. The Chairman said, on the other hand, that he was concerned with the implications of overturning the Board’s standing policy because of its extreme outcome. Moreover, he said, there is a case from Baltimore County that puts into question whether or not the residency requirement of Article 2B is constitutional under the U.S. and Maryland state constitutions. The Chairman said that he plans to ask the Attorney General to provide guidance on this issue and perhaps to seek legislative action to fix the issue. For those reasons, he denied the motion to dismiss the renewal application based on the residency requirement which Mr. Kim does not meet.

On the merits, Commissioner Greenfield voted to deny the renewal of the license. He said that Mr. Kim talked a lot about what he will do in the future but did not practice good faith in dealing with his neighbors. He knew that the community had significant concerns, and a couple of checks to the community association was not sufficient to address those concerns. Commissioner Moore stated that she was torn on her decision. The testimony and letters were overwhelmingly negative, and the balance of the good has not been very well demonstrated. Moore said that the MOU process was Mr. Kim’s second chance, which he did not take advantage of. Moore noted that the windows of the building are boarded up, which decreases the visibility of what is happening outside. Said Moore, there has been at least a year of opportunity to make things better, but it hasn’t happened. She concluded that “we ask communities to suffer a lot” and that, in some cases, “we’re asking too much of people.” She joined Commissioner Greenfield in his choice not to renew the license.

Chairman Matricciani had a written decision for the license renewal as well. He noted that it was not an easy case. The protest is supported by neighborhood associations, including those representing Waverly and Guilford; the license is supported by local business people and patrons. He noted the troubled history of the bar, including the 2015 suspension and reopening. Matricciani stated that the licensee had offered some explanations and done some renovations, but that he had missed the point. The Chairman said that the problems are typical of a package goods and lounge establishment in a busy urban neighborhood but that they were not being addressed adequately to protect the public health and safety of the community. In his judgment, the issues that Patricia Taylor, former WIA president, raised in her testimony, are not impossible to resolve. They included: (1) trash cleanup, (2) early hours when schoolchildren pass by, (3) drunken patrons on the outside of the bar, and (4) boarded windows. Matricciani voted to renew the license, but he said that if he had been in the majority, he would instruct the Board’s counsel to file a contempt motion, due to Mr. Kim’s failure to come to an agreement with the community association, which he interpreted the consent judgment to require.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Waverly
Area demographics 79% Black, 15% White; 29% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,733; 18% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community Ms. Becky Lundberg Witt (see disclaimer above)
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Renewal denied
Vote tally 2-1 (Matricciani dissenting)
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Constitutionality of Baltimore City residency requirement: On July 1, 2016, the Chairman of the BLLC asked the Attorney General’s office whether the residency requirement is constitutional under Verzi v. Baltimore County, a 1994 case. The case held that, if there is no non-economic basis for issuing licenses based on residency, the statute is unconstitutional. If, however, there is a rational relationship to a legitimate noneconomic objective, the statute is upheld. In Verzi, the law required that towing companies have a business address within the county to be granted a towing license in that county. The court concluded that, because they could find no rational basis for the law, the distinction was “intended to confer the monopoly of a private business upon residents of the [county].” It is a matter of debate whether a Court would find that the Baltimore City residency requirement is merely intended to confer a monopoly on Baltimore City residents or whether it has some other noneconomic rational basis.

Constitutionality of Baltimore City voter registration requirement: In a 2013 case, Yim v. Tuzeer, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals noted that the voter registration requirement for licensees may be unconstitutional, as applied to noncitizens, but the court avoided deciding that issue directly. The BLLC has enforced the voter registration provision haphazardly, if at all, and has no written policy on its opinion of the law’s constitutionality, either broadly or as applied to noncitizens. The agency must decide what its interpretation of the law is, reduce it to writing, and then apply it consistently to all.

II. Regular Items (Hardships, Transfers and Expansions):

Applicants Ae S. Kim, Keun Hyung Cho & Anthony Hargrove
Business Name Jeanne’s Liquors, Inc.
Trading As Eutaw Liquors
Address 115-17 N. Eutaw Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

The three applicants were present, represented by Attorney David Woo. Ms. Kim will remain the operator of the business, who testified that she has ten years’ experience at her cousin’s store in Glen Burnie and three years’ experience working at a different store in Baltimore County. Mr. Hargrove testified that he has fifteen years’ experience working in alcohol sales, five years at Eutaw Liquors with Mr. Cho. The establishment is located in a commercial area, near Lexington Market, so there were no complaints from nearby residents.

Commissioner Moore asked about the buyers and sellers of the license. Woo explained that Mr. Cho is the current owner of the license and is selling almost all of his interest to Ms. Kim but is staying on the license for a while as a 0.5% owner to advise the new owner. Moore noted that the application stated that there will be no employees, so she asked who will be running the establishment. Mr. Woo replied that Ms. Kim will run the establishment, perhaps with some help from her husband, who is also experienced.

Mr. Cho admitted that he or his wife had served an undercover police cadet 15 years ago but said that there had been no problems since then.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Downtown
Area demographics 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0.5%
Attorney for licensee Mr. David Woo
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Art. 2B section 10-202(a)
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

The current owners of the license, Mr. and Mrs. Cho, do not reside in Baltimore City, according to the documents in the docket file.

Applicants Justin Faulcon, Brian Mastervich & John Householder
Business Name Faulcon Food Services, LLC
Trading As Homemaid
Address 1400 Key Highway
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, and request to add outdoor table service and delivery of alcoholic beverages
Hearing notes

The three applicants appeared without representation. They testified that they are asking to add an individual to the license. They serve breakfast and brunch, Fridays through Sundays, 8am-4pm, specializing in grits, biscuits, and waffles.

The business had been a vape shop until December 15, which neighbors had opposed at a hearing on April 30, 2015. The restaurant opened in May 2016, under the vape pub’s license, which is under Mr. Mastervich’s name. They filed an application to transfer the ownership of the business in March 2016. Mr. Akras pointed to a letter from the owners that the former establishment stopped operating February 19, 2016. Mr. Mastervich testified that the letter was correct and that his December date that he had given to the commissioners verbally was incorrect. Once the application to transfer the license was filed, that tolled the 180 days under the statute.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Riverside
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian. 3% Hispanic ethnicity. 15% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $73,342. 8% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office None.
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 10%
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Art. 2B section 10-202(a)
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Gayle Mugavero-Grimm & Gregory Mugavero
Business Name Mugs Italian American Bistro,LLC
Trading As Mugs Italian American Bistro
Address 300 S. Exeter Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

Mr. Gregory Mugavero appeared, without an attorney, to request a 180-day extension of his license. He testified that, after his father passed away and his mother developed Alzheimer’s disease, he had to shut his business down. He is looking for someone to take it over. Chairman Matricciani noted that his grandfather lived very close to Mugs.

Mugavero described his business as a sandwich shop, that has been at the location since 1947. The property, business and license are currently owned by a family trust, controlled by Mr. Mugavero and his sister.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Little Italy
Area demographics 58% Black, 29% White, 5% Asian; 7% Hispanic ethnicity; 29% of households have children under age 18; Average household income: $30,550.74; 35% households below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Art. 2B section 10-504
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Charles Bowers
Business Name Lang Construction Co., Inc.
Trading As Hippopotamus
Address 934-36 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “BD-7” Beer, Wine & Liquor
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504{d)
Hearing notes

Former Liquor Board Chairman Stephan Fogleman represented Mr. Bowers. Fogleman told the commissioners that his client notified the agency of the closure of his establishment in October and attempted to market the license. He found a buyer, who wanted to move the license across the boundary of the legislative district; state legislators created an exception for this project, according to the attorney, during the 2016 legislative session, in HB 1210.

Commissioner Moore noted that the record shows that the application was made on the 178th day after the closure of the business, so, within the statutory time period.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Mount Vernon
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,331; 5.5% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Former Liquor Board Chairman Stephan Fogleman
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Ben Zabkowski & Ryan Wood
Business Name 3525 S. Hanover, LLC
Trading As Southside
Address 3525-27 S. Hanover Street
Type of License Class “BD-7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the licensee requesting a hardship extension for his closed business. A former tenant of the premises, according to Kodenski and his client, who owns the building, ran up his gas and electric bill and tried to force the bill against Zabkowski, his landlord. BG&E turned off the electricity in the building on December 16, due to the unpaid bill, and the licensee has been fighting them about it since then. He has owned the building for seven years.

Commissioner Moore expressed concern about “multiple layers of funky management” that led to the BG&E issue that may bring Mr. Zabkowski back before the Board.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Brooklyn
Area demographics 48% White, 36% Black, 4% 2 or more races; 10% Hispanic ethnicity; 40% households have children under age 18; median household income: $33,644; 22% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Corey Polyoka
Business Name Parts & Labor, LLC
Trading As Parts & Labor
Address 2600 N. Howard Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to add outdoor table service
Hearing notes

Ms. Caroline Hecker, of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP, represented the applicant. Two community members and officers of the Greater Remington Improvement Association (GRIA) were also present in support of the application.

The landlord for the building in which Parts and Labor is located has decided to ask the City to close part of 26th Street in order to create a large outdoor plaza area. Parts and Labor is requesting to be able to serve alcohol at outdoor tables in this plaza. The establishment has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with GRIA and the Charles Village Civic Association about the specifics of the outdoor seating.

Commissioner Greenfield asked how the business plans to address trash that may be created outside. Mr. Polyoka responded that he has been a manager at Woodberry Kitchen, which also has outdoor seating, and he learned to manage trash there. There will be clearly labeled bins for compost, trash, and recyling outside. He added that helping to look after community members in the area is an important part of their mission, so they will help people who may be wandering through and may need assistance, if need be. There is a problem with drug use in the area, and the restaurant has called and will call 311 and 911 whenever they need to.

The commissioners asked about how the change will impact parking. Hecker replied that the restaurant currently shares a parking lot with Single Carrot Theater. The addition of outdoor seating does not increase the parking requirement, when it comes to zoning.

The two GRIA officers and community members testified that they are thrilled with the addition of the plaza, since they want to encourage walking and local businesses. They believe that the outdoor seating makes the area safer, and they will be working with Parts and Labor on more traffic calming measures to increase safety.

Commissioner Moore asked whether there are any issues relating to the nearby CSX rail lines. Mr. Polyoka responded that there are not, but that they would love CSX to make their fence look nicer.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Remington
Area demographics 44% White, 35% Black, 3% 2 or more races, 13% Asian, 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,130.79; 14% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Ms. Caroline Hecker
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

1:00 p.m.

III. Violations:

Licensee Wilhelmina Watnoski
Business Name W.J.T., Inc.
Trading As Walt’s Inn
Address 3201 O’Donnell Street
Type of License Class “BD-7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct – At approximately 1:30 am, BLLC Inspectors Chrissomallis, Karanikolis, Howard and Fosler were making observations of the establishment. On the exterior of the establishment inspectors observed an advertisement for karaoke. Between the hours of 1:30 am and 2:05 am, BLLC Inspectors discreetly observed patrons participating in karaoke – by singing into an amplified microphone with music playing in the background. This establishment is not licensed by the BLLC to provide live entertainment.

Hearing notes

Former Liquor Board Chairman Stephan Fogleman represented the licensee, who admitted to the violation of hosting karoke without permission. The facts from the inspector’s report were read into the record. In mitigation, Fogleman stated that his client has been in business under this same license for twenty-five years and has offered karoke for twenty-three of those years. She has won awards for karaoke from City Paper, among others. She advertises it on her website and on her building. She had no idea that she needed to have BMZA and Liquor Board approval. There is no stage or DJ inside the business, just a small karoke machine. Fogleman noted that the file does say that an inspector wrote in his or her report that they had given a warning about the live entertainment to the bartender; Fogleman suggested that, when talking about “matters of legal import,” inspectors should talk to the licensee herself. Since receiving the citation, the licensee has received unanimous approval from the BMZA and has executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canton Community Association.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Former Liquor Board Chairman Stephan Fogleman
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible. $0 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision Licensee’s good record.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Young Sook Cho
Business Name Young’s II, Inc.
Trading As Young’s
Address 2401 E. Chase St
Type of License Class “BD-7” Beer Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors -February 19, 2016 -At approximately 8:25PM, The Baltimore Sheriffs Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a 6-pack of “BudIce.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage for $6.75. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided the 6-pack of “Bud Ice” by the bartender/store clerk. Ms.Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC.The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

The licensee, unrepresented, admitted the violation. She said that she made a mistake in serving the cadet but had never been found responsible for a violation before, in her six years in business. She and her son run the business on their own, and she reminds him every day to ask for ID.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Biddle Street
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $26,431.68; 21% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible. $150 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Seong Gon Kim
Business Name Super Z Liquor, Inc.
Trading As Super Z Liquor
Address 1871 N. Gay Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors- February 19, 2016- At approxiamately 7:57PM, The Baltimore Sheriffs Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a 6-pack of “Bud Ice.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage for $7.5-. Ms.Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

The licensee, not represented by an attorney, testified that he did commit the violation, because he thought that the cadet looked older than 21. He doesn’t know what happened. He runs the store by himself, with the help of his brother.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Broadway East
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $26,431.68; 21% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible. $150 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensees Ernest Hatmaker & Bradley Simmons
Business Name Chez Joey, LLC
Trading As Chez Joey
Address 415 E. Baltimore Street
Type of License Class “BD-7” Beer, Wine and Liquor; Adult Entertainment
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – January 12, 2016 – At approximately 7:45 PM, The Baltimore Sheriffs Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer Tyler White, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Mr. White entered the establishment and asked to purchase a “Bud Light.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Mr. White purchased the alcoholic beverage for $7.00. Mr. White was then provided a Bud Light bottle by the bartender/store clerk. Mr. White then communicated to the task force of the sale.Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage to the bartender and the change that was provided to Mr. White.

Violation of AE Rule 3.05(a): Incorporation of Liquor License Rules and Regulations to Applicable Licensees- January 12,2016- At approximately 7:45 PM,The Baltimore Sheriffs Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors.The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer Tyler White, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Mr. White entered he establishment and asked to purchase a “Bud Light.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Mr.White purchased the alcoholic beverage for $7.00. Mr. White was then provided a Bud Light bottle by the bartender/store clerk.Mr. White then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage to the bartender and the change that was provided to Mr. White.

Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski represented the licensee. He requested that the board merge the two violations into one, which the Chairman denied. The cadet in this case was not present, but his supervisor, who was inside the establishment at the time of the incident, was present. Kodenski admitted the violation, for his client, but said that the licensee has been very proactive and has had all of his employees alcohol management certified; they were not all certified, because this business is “fluid with respect to employees.” Normal policy is to ask for ID at the door, but the door person had stepped away and the bartender assumed that the customer had been checked. Kodenski noted that there had been some violation history with this establishment, but that one of the cases was remanded from an appeal and has not been decided.

Zoning B-5-2
Neighborhood Downtown
Area demographics 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible for both violations. $150 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Juan Moreno
Business Name Las Tejitas Restaurant, LLC
Trading As Las Tejitas
Address 422-26 S. Macon Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors-February 19, 2016- At approximately 11:14 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage{s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a bottle of “Corona Extra.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms.Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage for $4.00. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided a bottle of “Corona Extra” by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski admitted the violation on behalf of his client, who was not present. Mr. Moreno, the licensee, is in the process of moving to Nebraska and is submitting an application to transfer the license to a new owner. Kodenski also admitted that his client has a history of prior violations, including trash, making alterations without approval, and sales to minors, all of which took place within the past two years of his ownership.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Greektown
Area demographics 52% White, 12% Black, 3% Asian; 30% Hispanic ethnicity; 30% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,987.50.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, but the corporate name is “Las Tejitas Restaurant, LLC;” no.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $500 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

An Administrative Order issued by former Chairman Thomas Ward required that one licensees and/or applicant be present for hearings. Mr. Kodenski’s client was not present at the hearing, in contravention of that order, assuming that it was legally issued.

Licensee Yonas Negas
Business Name Negash, Inc.
Trading As Bayview Liquors
Address 3804 Eastern Avenue
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – February 19, 2016 – At approximately 10:56 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a 6-pack of “Smimoff Ice.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage for $8.75. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided the 6-pack of “Smimoff Ice” by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

Mr. Gary Maslan represnted the client, who admitted the violation. Maslan stated that his client has been a licensee for thirteen years. He is the vice president of the local business association and active in his community. He was the person who served the police cadet. Maslan said that his client thought that the cadet was on the phone and very upset about something, and he was concerned about her wellbeing, which distracted him from asking for her ID. Since then, he has installed a new Point of Sale (POS) system that prompts him to ask for an ID. He and his sister work at the business and have both taken the alcohol management class. In 2008, he was found responsible for two separate violations of the sales to minors rule.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Highlandtown
Area demographics 66% White, 9% Black, 3% Asian; 19% Hispanic ethnicity, 17% households have children under age 18; median household income: $60,484; 15% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible. $500 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

The licensee has a history of responsibility for similar offenses, though they are not recent. Commissioner Moore expressed confusion about the licensee’s explanation for the violation: why should the cadet seeming upset mean that she doesn’t get asked for ID? Moore suggested that the licensee might have thought, “give her a beer, she’ll feel better.”

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

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